Somerset skeletons are oldest evidence of monks found in UK

A very interesting article written up here by a Guardian newspaper journalist. These may well have been the descendants of the Nazarean Essene Ecclesia founded in Glastonbury after the Crucifixion by St. Josephus The Arimathean and LORD YESHUA’S Disciples. These could well be some of the Nazarean Essene Monks that tended to KING ARTHUR’S battle wounds after His final battle at Slaughterbridge in Cornwall, after Sir Benevere brought Him back to Avalon for medical care by the Nazarene Priesthood firmly established here in town.
The dates are completely wrong about monasticism starting in France in 400 A.D. though, so ignore that section. According to ARA The GOOD, a former incarnation of the legendary and mystical KING ARTHURE whose autobiography I have recently been channelling from the Spirit World, the first monastery in Britain was built in Tintagel in B.C 750. by HIM.
Blessings to all. Peace be with you.
Somerset skeletons are oldest evidence of monks found in UK
Carbon dating of remains unearthed in Beckery chapel near Glastonbury indicate monastic life dating back to fifth or early sixth centuries.
Volunteers excavating the area that included the monastic graves in Somerset. Photograph: Supplied
Caroline Davies
Monday 5 December 2016 12.23 GMT
Skeletons excavated at a site near Glastonbury are the oldest examples of monks ever found in the UK, carbon dating has proved.
The remains, unearthed at the medieval Beckery chapel in Somerset, said to have been visited by legendary figures such as King Arthur and St Bridget, indicate a monastic cemetery dating back to the fifth or early sixth centuries AD, before Somerset was conquered by the Saxon kings of Wessex in the seventh century.
Archaeologists first located an extensive cemetery of between 50 and 60 bodies during an excavation in the 1960s. The fact all were male – apart from one female, thought to have been a visitor, nun or patron, and two juveniles, who may have been novices – left little doubt this was a monastic graveyard.
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Now a new excavation – a community training dig – has uncovered two more bodies, and taken bone samples of seven other individuals which, when carbon dated, showed the earliest to have died between AD 406 and 544.
Dr Richard Brunning, site director of the lottery-funded dig by the South West Heritage Trust, said the discovery was both “very exciting” and “a big surprise”.
“Radio carbon dating has allowed us to get the answers we have been waiting for for 50 years,” he said.
Monasticism began in France just before AD 400, and gradually spread all around the Irish Sea in Ireland, Scotland, Wales and western England, he said. “But this is our earliest archaeological evidence for it in the UK.”
“There are various saints’ lives that suggest people might be founding monasteries, but they are vaguely dated and it is uncertain how far you can trust them, because, obviously, it is in their own interests to big up the history of whatever saint they are writing about, and they are usually written several hundred years afterwards.”
Brunning said of the find: “It is a big surprise. We didn’t think they would be that early. We thought they would all be quite late because there is a medieval chapel on the site and we thought these would be late Saxon continuing.”
Beckery, in Somerset’s Avalon marshes, which means either “bee-keeper’s island” in Old English or Irish for “little Ireland”, was the perfect location for a monastery.
“It is rather curious landscape today, with an industrial park at one edge, and a sewage farm at the other. You have got the modern encroachment of the outskirts of Glastonbury, and on the other two sides you look out across the Somerset Levels and moors, across the low wetlands,” said Brunning.
“Back when it was a monastery, it would have been a small island of hard geology just sticking out of the floodplain. Just the sort of place where you could get away from the normal secular world and devote yourself to God, effectively.”
The excavation, which took two weeks, was carried out by about 25 local people. The findings will now be written up for an archaeological journal and the site, which will be laid out with interpretation panels, will be open to the public. “Glastonbury Abbey is a big tourist attraction itself, so it just adds to that wider Glastonbury story.”
The site of the medieval chapel, which predates Iona Abbey in Scotland founded in the late sixth century, was first excavated in the 1880s by John Morland, and again in the 1960s by Philip Rahtz, but because carbon dating was in its infancy, it was not known how old it was.
Seven individuals were dated, six from graves and one from human bones found in the backfill of the 1960s dig. The earliest monks died in the fifth or early sixth centuries with burials continuing in the seventh to early ninth centuries. The monastic use of the site may have ended in the later ninth century when Somerset was attacked by Viking armies.

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